Top government officials and political leaders are expected to attend a host of memorial events over the weekend, including Saturday's ceremonies at Warsaw's Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East.
On Saturday morning, Polish President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath at a monument dedicated to Poles exiled to Syberia during World War II.
Speaking during a ceremony in the northern Polish city of Gdynia, Duda said that Soviet Russia is responsible for the death of millions of Polish citizens.
"They were being imprisoned, and forcefully resettled to Syberia, where they were dying in labour camps due to illnesses and hard work," Duda said.
Polish officials and historians have repeatedly condemned the Treaty of Non-Aggression, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that opened the door to those countries invading Poland in 1939 and paved the way to the horrors of World War II, making September 17, 1939 one of the most tragic dates in recent Polish history.
At dawn on September 17, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland following a secret agreement with the German Third Reich.
Poland was then caught between German Nazi forces advancing from the west and Soviet forces from the east.
Following the invasion, some 250,000 Polish soldiers were captured by the Soviets, who later executed thousands of prisoners of war, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.
Mass deportations of the civilian population followed, with up to 1.5 million Poles transported away into the Soviet interior, mainly to Siberia and Kazakhstan, according to some estimates.
The European Parliament in 2019 passed a resolution that recounted how World War II broke out more than eight decades ago and stressed that Poland was attacked by not only Nazi Germany, but also the USSR at the time, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
The resolution said that on August 23, 1939, “the communist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a Treaty of Non-Aggression, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, dividing Europe and the territories of independent states between the two totalitarian regimes and grouping them into spheres of interest, which paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War.”
Condemning the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the resolution said that in its aftermath “Poland was invaded first by Hitler and two weeks later by Stalin – which stripped the country of its independence and was an unprecedented tragedy for the Polish people.”
The resolution adopted by MEPs in September 2019 also called on the European Commission to decisively counteract “efforts by the current Russian leadership to distort historical facts and whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime.”
It added that such attempts were “a dangerous component of the information war waged against democratic Europe that aims to divide Europe.”
The resolution was drawn up as the international community commemorated the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.
Source: IAR, jedynka.polskieradio.pl